3 ESSENTIAL THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT COUGHS
When you cough, your body is trying to expel an irritant from your body. Coughing is a reflex action that assists your body in protecting itself from irritants such as mucus and smoke, and allergens such as dust, mould, and pollen. However, coughs can be more than just a little bit annoying, which is why no one enjoys having them.
From answering questions like “why do we cough?” to the best ways to treat it and how to decrease the chance of you having a cough, keep reading for three essential things to know about coughs.
1. Different types of coughs indicate different things
There are many reasons why you might be experiencing a cough as it is a symptom of different health conditions. Therefore, to know what is the matter, it is essential to consider the characteristics of your cough.
Ask yourself, when and why does the cough happen? How does it sound or feel? How long does it last? Does the cough cause any related symptoms (vomiting, sleeplessness, etc.)? How would you grade it in terms of being annoying, persistent, or debilitating?
Generally, a wet cough (one that brings up mucus) is caused by the common cold or the flu. However, it can also be a symptom of pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and asthma. On the other hand, a dry cough feels more like a tickle in the back of your throat. This could be a symptom of laryngitis, croup, tonsillitis, allergies, or exposure to irritants (to name a few).
Paroxysmal cough is the name given with someone experiences sporadic attacks of violent, uncontrollable coughing. This is often exhausting and painful and may cause individuals to vomit. In some cases, paroxysmal cough is caused by whooping cough – something most babies are vaccinated for, usually at six weeks of age. But, it can also be a symptom of asthma, COPD, pneumonia, tuberculosis, or choking.
2. When you know the cause, you can treat the cough
Generally, most coughs clear up within two weeks. If yours hasn’t significantly improved within this timeframe, then you are going to want to see a doctor. Moreover, if you notice additional symptoms (such as fever, headaches, exhaustion, distraction, or coughing up blood), then you might want to contact your doctor immediately.
For most coughs, the right self-care and at-home treatments are enough to treat them effectively. You can soothe your cough by staying hydrated, elevating your head while sleeping, using cough drops, gargling warm salt water, adding honey to hot tea or water, and using decongestant sprays.
If your child is suffering from a cough, it is highly recommended that you opt for the best children’s cough medicine to help treat it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your child is likely to also develop temporary conditions such as tiredness, dizziness, and headaches.
3. You can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a cough
One of the most significant reasons why people suffer from a constant cough is because they are surrounded by allergens (pollen, dust, animal dander, mould, etc.) or irritants (smoking, secondhand smoke, pollution, chemical fumes, perfumes, and air fresheners). Therefore, if you want to reduce the chance of you having a cough, make sure to avoid these allergens and remove these irritants from your life.
Moreover, studies have found that individuals who consume diets high in fruits, vegetables, and fibre are less prone to chronic respiratory symptoms such as coughs. Therefore, if you are looking to reduce the frequency or severity of your cough, you may want to speak with a nutritionist to make some dietary adjustments.
Last, but not least, avoid individuals who already have communicable diseases, such as bronchitis, so that you don’t come into contact with germs. In a similar vein, make sure to wash your hands frequently and refrain from sharing utensils, towels, or pillows.
Do you regularly suffer from a cough? If so, do you have any tips and tricks to share with other readers who are going through a similar problem?
Alternatively, if you are struggling with one particular aspect of your cough and have more questions, let us know in the comments below!